Famous Blue Raincoat – R.I.P. Leonard Cohen


I heard the news this morning of the death, at the age of 82, of the great Leonard Cohen (above). The media are full of appreciations of his work and comments from admirers. I can add very little except that so many of the comments I’ve seen on social media have described his death as like the loss of an old friend, which is exactly how I feel.  He often dealt with dark and troubling themes, but always with defiant humour instead of despair: “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”.

Sadly the light has gone out, this time for good. At least he will live on in our hearts through his music, though sadly he won’t live to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (which I think he deserved more than Bob Dylan).

As a tribute here is what I think is his best song, Famous Blue Raincoat

Rest in Peace, Leonard Cohen (1934-2016).


P.S. I don’t mind telling you that I’ve just about had enough of 2016.




16 Responses to “Famous Blue Raincoat – R.I.P. Leonard Cohen”

  1. angeltownsend Says:

    When music has been pretty much getting me through this week (thanks radio 3) this came out of the blue. Confess though that I have enjoyed reading the tributes and quotes that have managed to push other darker materials out of my timeline. Enjoyed reading your contribution and think Dylan may even agree. Music can never really be a competition.

  2. and this is a brilliant song

  3. never quite get to the bottom of it

  4. On PM on Radio 4 when Dylan won the Nobel, some reporter said something along the lines of “They don’t award it posthumously, so they’ll have to get a move on if they want to give it to Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen.” I said at the time that that was in rather bad taste, but also that I would have thought either of them more deserving.

  5. One of the pages linked to above, or a link from it, mentions Fairport Convention’s Bird on a Wire in their top-6 cover versions. Fairport also did a cover—rather different from the original, but also very good—of Suzanne. (Around the same time, Fairport did many Dylan covers as well, some of them from what later became known as the Basement Tapes, i.e. songs which Dylan himself had not yet released. Some of the Fairport members, together with other musicians, have been playing Dylan covers for a while in a band called The Dylan Project.)

  6. I saw Cohen in 1985 in Hamburg. The programme had the ages of the musicians after their names, e.g. Leonard Cohen (50). Especially compared to the rest of the band, he seemed ancient at the time. (I was just 20.) After another 31 years (I’ll be 52 next month), I’ll be the same age as Leonard now. Tempus fugit.

  7. One of the pages linked to above, or a link from it, says, in connection with his second novel:

    It prompted the Boston Globe to declare: “James Joyce is not dead. He is living in Montreal under the name of Cohen.”

  8. What always amazes me about photos like this is that they exist at all. Today, cameras are ubiquitous, and many people have a hundred thousand photos. But back then, cameras were big, film was expensive, and so on. But people took pictures of Cohen on Hydra, the Beatles in the Cavern, and so on.

  9. Rest In Peace Leonard Cohen.

    For me, the biggest gift is to have an appreciation of music. That means to listen, grow and understand the many different cultures and sounds. Musicians have the talent to create, to share and bring joy. Do they deserve a prize? I think yes. Leonard Cohen picked up quite a few along the way. I am sure he would agree in saying that, the ability to bring peace and contentment to his audience is the biggest prize of all.

    Through this blog, I have been able to expand my musical knowledge. It is a dark place, but at the same time quite illuminating!
    Thank you.

  10. Many have been discussing cover versions of various Cohen songs. A couple of years ago, I saw Flying Colors, which is a progressive-rock supergroup. Technically very good—Steve Morse (nor relation to the other Morse in the group, though the latter used to be in a band with his brother) has been voted “best overall guitarist” many times by various pundits—although not quite my cup of tea. I was somewhat surprised when they covered Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

    • A similar surprise was seeing John Illsley of Dire Straits covering “First We Take Manhattan”. (He’s definitely worth seeing, and plays many more Straits songs than Knopfler.)

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